The New York City-based firm filed for bankruptcy after losing a pair of lawsuits, including a $2.5 million malpractice suit filed by a former client.
Coudert has appealed, but it doesn’t have the money to pay the judgments, the firm’s executive director, Patricia Kane, said in court papers. The bankruptcy filing effectively bars the creditors from seizing the firm’s assets in payment of the judgments.
Another factor prompting Coudert’s Chapter 11 filing is that ex-Coudert partners have squirreled away funds the firm said belongs to it. “A number of former Coudert partners have sequestered or converted funds totaling in excess $1.5 million in personal bank accounts,” Ms. Kane alleged.
The firm is also defending itself against dozens of lawsuits, including malpractice suits by former clients and actions by former partners, creditors and landlords.
Last August, Coudert said it would dissolve its partnership and wind down its practice after failing to find a merger partner in another law firm.
Founded in New York City in 1853, Coudert was one of the first U.S. law firms to establish a significant presence outside the U.S. At its height, Coudert had more than 600 lawyers in offices in 15 countries. By the time it voted to dissolve, Coudert had shrunk to about 460 lawyers.